Wife, Mother of five, female entrepreneur, businesswoman, influencer, networker, community champion, and breast cancer survivor. Bron watson shares her story and her role as ambassador for the mother’s day classic.
Hi Bron … Wow! Talk about a fun cover shoot! I know you were a little anxious, but how was it in the end for you?
Thanks Louise. After a lot of worry and a few tears … the photo shoot was an achievement!
Picture this … in the middle of Fantastic Furniture in Port Macquarie, customers browsing, people watching, and me wearing not much more than a tulle skirt with hot pink tights … it was interesting, to say the least!
However, this is bigger than me. I am a voice for those who either can’t speak or find it too hard when it comes to breast cancer awareness.
Seeing one of my pink sisters in tears on the morning of the shoot, because her blood results were not what she wanted, is my reason for getting out there … pink tights and all!
Thankfully, I had our Mother’s Day Classic team with me, plus the adorable Kate from “All Dolled Up” and you, Louise, to make it the best it could be! Loads of fun, and very pink – which is my favourite colour.
So, for those who don’t know you, Bron, tell us a little about yourself.
Paul and I moved from Sydney thirteen years ago, due to employment opportunities here in Port Macquarie; leaving Sydney has been the best thing we’ve done.
We have five boys: Josh, Ben, Sam, Tom and Ollie, and our fur babies, Zoe and Milo.
My background is a little unusual. I have had the pleasure of a dual career for over two decades. My first love as a Registered Nurse and Clinical Nurse Educator … the second being marketing. In fact, my first marketing role was at Ticketek as a Marketing and Promotions
We’ve been following you on social media for a while now. Give us a run down on what you do as a business woman.
In 2011 I launched my first business, “Nurse Power”, with nothing but a dream to run my own business, and a laptop.
By 2013 I was being asked “a lot”: how can someone leave a solid profession, start a business, and then grow to the point of financial independence?
The “Bron Watson” brand was born, a national marketing consulting business helping other business owners and entrepreneurs who feel overworked, frustrated and time poor when it comes to marketing and social media. The program helped to get better results, and grow their business, just like I did … without it breaking the bank!
Since 2013 I have had the privilege of providing education and support to thousands of entrepreneurs through online help, personal mentoring and online programs, so they too, can be successful and achieve their dreams.
I am not a marketing agency – I work with the business owner, with a step-by-step, time saving process, so that they can create and control their own marketing, learning the strategies and tactics of social media know-how … rather than we do it for you.
The real benefit for the business owner is this skill-set remains “in-house”, which has the ultimate return on investment.
Recently you have been engaged to head up a new Australian arm of the e-WomenNetwork – what is that about?
The eWomenNetwork is for entrepreneurs and business owners, with over 500,000 women (and some great guys) connected across the U.S. and Canada. I was fortunate to meet the CEO, Sandra Yancey, on a recent trip to America.
The network is expanding and has recently launched in Australia; it’s perfect for people wanting to connect at a local, national and international level, and I am honoured to be the first Managing Director in Australia.
It came about when I met a random (lovely) woman from Florida on Facebook, connecting and building a relationship. We are both in business … I did six months of due diligence, we then chatted with the CEO on Zoom, and BOOM – here we are!
Talk us through the story of what happened when you were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017.
Nothing prepares you for hearing the words “You have cancer … and no, Bron, it’s not in the early stages”.
Even though I intuitively knew something was wrong, it was such a shock. I was diagnosed on a Thursday, and by the following Wednesday I was on the operating table in Sydney.
Picture driving home from Sydney, your body forever changed, a drain from the wound and Googling how to tell your kids you have a diagnosis of cancer. Even though I have literally looked after thousands of people who had been diagnosed with cancer, I never knew the depth of the fear, anxiety and feelings of free-falling, with everything you knew to be “normal”… no longer real.
What were some of the challenges you had to overcome, and how did you do this?
Anyone who has been through a diagnosis of cancer will relate – every “journey” is a different one.
From going about my business to having a mammogram and ultrasound, seeing the technician measuring away, to diagnosis, surgery, having a drain for a month, starting very strong chemo, losing my hair and being taken to what felt like the brink of life itself …is horrific.
I craved understanding and knowing what would come next. It felt like a GPS malfunctioning and taking me on a left turn extravaganza – every time I thought I was on a straight road, something would happen, another left turn, never knowing what was going to happen next.
The business was in a major growth stage, then BAM … cancer knocked the wind out of my sails.
It was about survival; unfortunately, I didn’t have a plan B in business and had to work the best I could. It’s what I now call “success despite adversity”… thankfully, I have some pretty amazing clients who rode through it with me.
Looking back, I overcame this left turn extravaganza by focusing on today, on what I could do for me just for today; the side effects of the chemo taught me that.
Where are you at in the cancer journey now?
Today, I am living each and every day the best way I can for me. I take an anti-cancer adjuvant tablet every day, which has its own suite of side effects – something I am dealing with currently.
My blood results are finally back to normal since completing the 11 rounds of chemotherapy. I had to finish up chemo early due to considerable side-effects, lymphedema and the damage caused by the radiotherapy.
I am forever grateful to be in the position I am in, with choice … the chance to live a full life.
We teamed up with you this month to focus on a charity that is very close to your heart. How did you become involved as the Ambassador of the Mother’s Day Classic?
I love your team photo, all shades of pink – a little like breast cancer diagnosis, all shades representing the stages. Thank you for supporting us – fantastic!
The reason why I love, support and am passionate about our local Mother’s Day Classic is the fact that all funds go to research …finding a better way to treat this disease.
My treatment plan used drugs that are thirty years old; by working together, we can find a better way.
The statistics are becoming worse, with one in seven being diagnosed; it was one in eight this time last year.
No-one wants to be the “one in seven”.If I can increase awareness, encourage people to get checked, fundraise and do my little bit to find the breakthrough for the treatment of breast cancer, I’m happy with that.
This is a way to be a voice for those who can’t speak or share their experience and honour those who are no longer with us.
The “Bron & Co” team will once again be walking this event. I am super proud to have partnered with Heritage Christian School, who have actively supported me and my family since diagnosis. They say it takes a community to raise a child; words cannot express my gratitude to my school community.
We met the team and some of the volunteers earlier last month, and I know you hold a lot of respect for these women. Can you tell us how they inspire you?
Kylie and Carmen, our local volunteers who run this event, are nothing short of amazing. Their love and support for this event and all the pink girls (those who are locals who have had a diagnosis) is quite overwhelming and something I am so appreciative of.
Behind every diagnosis is a story – a person who experiences this disease differently. Every. Single. Day.
The respect I have for the Pink Ambassadors, and to those who quietly go about their business asking for privacy, inspire me with their resilience and strength.
With the Mother’s Day Classic coming up on 12th May and the awareness of breast cancer being driven alongside the fund-raising, can you give us your insights and final thoughts on the topic of cancer
It’s not until things go terribly wrong, and you do what needs to be done, that you realise it is possible to have success despite adversity. When there is no plan B, and all you’ve got …is you.
My favourite quote is “You don’t know how strong you are until you have no choice”.
I have lost count how many times I have heard the words, “You are so strong”. The truth for me is it doesn’t feel like I am stronger than anyone else – I’m simply giving it all I have, knowing that no matter what happens in the future, I made today count.
My final thoughts … For those who may have a friend, family or loved one diagnosed, and you are not sure what to say, you can’t fix it, they can’t fix it, and it sucks; they’re doing the best they can on the day.
Simply acknowledge them, let them know you care and surround them with love. Say something without trying to fix it; they may not want the thousand recommendations of miracle cures and treatment options just yet – it’s such a personal space.
The diagnosis of cancer is not a one-person thing; it affects us all. When we gather round – give love without trying to fix it, consider our words, and hang on for the ride without focusing on the outcome, because today is all we have.
Tomorrow is guaranteed to no-one.